MALACAÑANG yesterday assured National Democratic Front (NDF) leader Luis Jalandoni that he would not be arrested once he returns to the Philippines to join informal talks for the possible resumption of peace negotiations between the communists and the government.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said “the apprehension” of Jalandoni “that he would be arrested once he sets foot in Philippine soil is misplaced.”
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier ordered Panelo and Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza to meet with Jalandoni and Fidel Agcaoili for an informal chat for the possible revival of the peace talks.
But Jalandoni canceled his trip to the Philippines, citing the threat of arrest by government forces.
Jalandoni cited the statement of Interior Secretary Eduardo Año that he and Agcaoili would be arrested once they return to Manila because of standing warrants of arrest.
Panelo, however, said “such statement was made when the peace talks was canceled by the President due to the violations of the ceasefire agreement by the communist rebels.”
“Given that the President has opened a venue for informal talks with the NDF leaders to explore the possibility of resuming the peace talks, it goes without saying that no arrest shall be made during the days of informal talks,” he said.